On Tuesday Aug. 15, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford met with Gen. Fang Fenghui, China's Chief of the Joint Staff Department, in Beijing.
Gen. Dunford started the meeting by noting the importance of candid and professional communication between the U.S. and China militaries because both nations have tough issues where we do not share the same perspective. He welcomed the signing of the Joint Staff Dialogue Mechanism (JSDM) framework document, saying it was a hopeful step in the military-to-military relationship. But he stressed that it will only be useful if it results in reducing the risk of miscalculation, which not only has long-term benefits to manage bilateral differences, but is especially critical now due to growing North Korean provocations.
Gen. Dunford delivered a clear message that North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs threaten the entire global community, including China, Russia, the U.S. and our allies. He emphasized that the U.S. and China have the same goal -- a denuclearized Korean Peninsula achieved through peaceful means. He echoed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in saying that North Korean actions threaten the economic and military security of China. In the interest of regional stability, he said the U.S. views with growing urgency the need for China to increase pressure on the North Korean regime. Should preferred diplomatic and economic peaceful options fail, Gen. Dunford reiterated America's resolve to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan, as well as the U.S. homeland.
Gen. Dunford and Gen. Fang had candid discussions about areas of tension in the bilateral relationship. Gen. Dunford said that addressing disagreements through military leader dialogue is helpful to keep differences from becoming crises.
In a continuing effort to reduce the risk of miscalculation, Gen. Fang invited Gen. Dunford to visit China's Northern Theater Command in Shenyang on Wednesday. Gen. Dunford thanked Gen. Fang for hosting his first visit to China. He said that he looked forward to starting the JSDM in November in Washington D.C.